Curtis, Rebecca 1974-
Curtis, Rebecca 1974-
Born January 10, 1974, in NH. Education: Pomona College, B.A.; New York University, M.A. 1998; Syracuse University, M.F.A.
During early career, taught at the graduate writing program at St. Mary's College of California, Moraga; University of Kansas, Lawrence, assistant professor of English, 2003-06; Columbia University, New York, NY, professor in graduate writing program, 2006—.
Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award for emerging female writers, 2005.
Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money, Harper Perennial (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to anthologies, including The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007, The Better of McSweeney's, and What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology. Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including the New Yorker, Harper's, Harper's Bazaar, McSweeney's, Open City, and Conjunctions.
Rebecca Curtis was born and raised in New Hampshire. She then traveled to Pomona College where she earned her undergraduate degree, then to New York University where she earned her master's, and on to Syracuse University where she earned her master of fine arts degree. Following graduation, she taught briefly at St. Mary's College of California before moving on to take a position as assistant professor of English in the graduate program at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. She eventually joined the faculty of the graduate writing program at Columbia University in New York City. Throughout her travels, she worked to hone her skills as a writer and refused to accept rejection. When applying to graduate programs, she sent applications to both fiction and poetry programs at each school in which she was interested. After she was rejected from every fiction program, she decided to obtain both of her graduate degrees in poetry. She made the most of her education, attending as many elective fiction- writing classes as she was able and applying what she learned in her poetry classes to the rest of her projects. Ultimately, Curtis's diligence paid off. In 2005, she won the prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award for emerging female writers. She has since published short fiction in a variety of periodicals and anthologies, and she released her first short-story collection, Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money, in 2007.
Twenty Grand is comprised of a series of surreal stories—quirky looks at life from Curtis's imagination. Their subject matter ranges from a girl who is given up to monsters by her family to a far more realistic tale of a disadvantaged woman trying to earn enough money for college while working in a wealthy resort town during the summer. Leigh Newman, in a review for Time Out New York, remarked: "This is a writer who astonishes with her versatility of styles and techniques." In the Village Voice, Elizabeth Hand called Curtis "a hugely talented writer," and her debut "a collection you can bank on," declaring that the book "showcases the talent of one of the more promising short story writers in America today." Commenting on "Summer, with Twins," one of the stories in the volume, Hand praised "Curtis's command of language, her nuanced and subtle, deceptively offhand gift with the interplay of character and dialogue." Malena Watrous wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that Curtis "imbues the ordinary world with a sense of magic so that even the realistic stories seem like fairy tales, the Eastern European kind that seldom end well."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2007, review of Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money.
Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of Twenty Grand, p. 29.
Writer's Digest, August, 2007, review of Twenty Grand, p. 31.
Ben Kharakh Web site,http://benkharakh.com/ (August 22, 2007), interview with Rebecca Curtis.
Bowdoin Orient Web site,http://orient.bowdoin.edu/ (November 2, 2007), Frances Millikin, "Rebecca Curtis's Debut Collection of Short Stories Is Perceptive, Sad."
Cincinnati CityBeat Online,http://citybeat.com/ (September 5, 2007), Cedric Rose, review of Twenty Grand.
Columbia University Web site,http://www.columbia.edu/ (January 7, 2008), faculty profile of Rebecca Curtis.
Five Chapters Web site,http://www.fivechapters.com/ (January 7, 2008), profile of Rebecca Curtis.
KGB Bar Web site,http://www.kgbbar.com/ (October 11, 2007), profile of Rebecca Curtis.
New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (July 15, 2007), Curtis Sittenfeld, "She Works Hard for the Money."
Philadelphia City Paper Online,http://www.citypaper.net/ (June 27, 2007), Patrick Rapa, review of Twenty Grand.
Phoenix Web site,http://www.thephoenix.com/ (August 8, 2007), Christopher Gray, "Hard-Knock Lives."
Rona Jaffe Foundation Web site,http://ronajaffe.com/ (January 7, 2008), "Writers's Award Winner 2005."
Sunspinner Web site,http://www.sunspinner.org/ (January 7, 2008), Lisa Swanstrom, interview with Rebecca Curtis and author profile.
Time Out New York Online,http://www.timeout.com/newyork/ (January 7, 2008), Leigh Newman, "Rebecca Curtis's Versatile Debut Veers from Money Woes to the Macabre."
University of Kansas Student Association of Graduates in English Web site,http://groups.ku.edu/ (January 7, 2008), "Welcome to Professor Rebecca Curtis."
University of Kansas Web site,http://www.news.ku.edu/ (September 12, 2005), "KU English Assistant Professor Wins Jaffe Award for Emerging Female Writers."
Village Voice Online,http://www.villagevoice.com/ (June 26, 2007), Elizabeth Hand, "Summer Shorts: Fading Towns but Rising Talent in Rebecca Curtis's Debut Story Collection."